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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attends IAK Korean War Memorial site

It was a privilege for the IAK to be represented in a special ceremony with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Ambassador to Ireland Michelle Winthrop, commemorating the Irish who died in the Korean War as part of Team Ireland's Trade Mission to Korea earlier this month.

The IAK erected a special monument in 2013, and since then, we have hosted numerous commemoration events. We are very fortunate and proud to have had the opportunity to host our Prime Minister at this significant site at the War Memorial Museum in Yongsan.

Soldiers from all over the island of Ireland fought alongside regiments of the British, U.S., and Commonwealth forces in the service of the United Nations Command (UNC). Ireland was not a member of the UN at the time.

The memorial honors a total of 159 people of Irish heritage who lost their lives during the three-year war, including eight Irish missionaries.

In 2013, 11 Irish veterans made the trip back to Korea for events, with some returning for the first time since the war. These veterans served mainly with the Royal Ulster Rifles (RUR) and other British regiments. There was also a veteran from the U.S. 8th Cavalry. Half of the veterans were accompanied by family members, and there were also family representatives from two soldiers who were killed in action.

Mark McConnell, one of the visiting veterans, recited his profoundly moving poem 'Korean Lament' at the unveiling of the memorial.

Korean Lament


by Mark McConnell


There’s blood on the hills of Korea, it’s the blood of the brave and the true,

where th

e nations they battled together, ‘neath banners of white and pale blue,

as they marched over the fields of Korea to the hills where the enemy lay,

they remembered the Brigadier’s orders, those hills must be taken today.

for they knew as they charged up that hillside there were many would never return.

Some thought of their wives and their mothers and some of their sweethearts so fair

‘There’s blood on the hills in Korea, it’s the blood of the freedom we love,

may our names live in glory forever, and our souls rest in heaven above.’

And boys, when you go back to Belfast, when this War is over and done,

And forward they went into battle, with faces unsmiling, and stern,

and some as they plodded and stumbled were softly saying this prayer,

just think of the ones left behind you out in the Korean sun.

For more information about the memorial, the Korean war, the Irish Association of Korea, please visit the website: 


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